Poetry Fiction Issue

A Mile Down the Road From Home

Hear the author read this poem

I’ve caught myself
whistling a bumpy version
of “Take the A Train,” and only
because this catbird
in a beach-plum thicket has
taken me up on it,
or close enough, the bird
keeping a breath or two behind,
as if trying to hear where
I’m taking him, then diving
back into his own song line,
improvising along his strung-out
warbles and gutturals, and now
a few kingfisher rattles
and perhaps a black-billed cuckoo
or something else he’s brought
up the hemisphere for this
season of courtship, cackles
and chucks, even a tree frog’s piping.
I can feel Darwin frowning over me
like a thunderhead. A little
shaky about messing around
in natural selection, I look
both ways, taking care the bird
and I are alone before I donate
a ragged thread from “Peter Grimes”
to this slate-colored, black-capped
male who has only
a rufous undertail for flash.

Presented by

Brendan Galvin’s latest collection is Habitat: New and Selected Poems, 1965–2005. He lives in Truro, Massachusetts.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In